Equipped to Counsel

Salem Heights Church Biblical Counseling Ministries

Syllabus 2022-2023


Our specific mission is to support the church in its mandate to equip the saints for ministry.


The purpose of this course is to:

  • Help students apply theology to the specifics of face‐to‐face ministry
  • Help students enhance their skills in counseling and one-another care
  • Develop more experience by discussing a broad range of counseling case studies
  • Receive supervision on counseling case studies

INSTRUCTIONAL GOALS: Upon completion of this course, the student will:

  1. Understand the importance and the “how-to” of developing a working lens in counseling and pastoral ministry.
  2. Develop a better understanding of how to practically apply theological constructs to the complex issues often encountered in one‐on‐one pastoral or counseling ministry.
  3. Acquire a general understanding of general and specific issues with which individuals struggle as people created in a fallen world.
  4. Gain deeper understanding in how to facilitate and engage in the counseling process.


It is expected that students stay on the weekly schedule outlined in this syllabus.  Students should follow that schedule accordingly.



Henderson, J. (2019). Equipped To Counsel, Second Edition: A Training Program in Biblical Counseling. (Provided)


Each week, you will have assigned reading from articles found in the Journal of Biblical Counseling, a publication of the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation (CCEF).


    1. Salem Heights Church Biblical Counseling Ministry Certificate of Completion – This option includes additional required reading of articles, assignments and observation.
    2. Association of Biblical Counselors Certification – This option does all of the above and requires several additional assignments, 2 open-book exams, and a mini-practicum experience. National Certification through ABC is granted upon successful ABC Certification Steps.

If you would like to apply for ABC Certification, please complete the application and pay the $25 application fee at:



Assignment Descriptions (ABC and SHC Certificate of Completion)

The sections to follow describe the assignments due for ABC Level 1 certification and SHC Certificate of Completion over the training year ahead.  All assignments should be uploaded into Google Classroom by the due date.  If there is an extenuating circumstance that requires an extension of a due date, please email Emily at: emilyd@salemheightschurch.org


Your Story (ABC and SHC):

This is an exercise for students to write out their stories in a way that can be shared with others in 12-15 minutes. Once you’re finished writing your story in 2-3 pages, please turn it in by uploading it to Google Classroom. Here are a few questions to help guide you:

– Where and what are you battling right now?

Please be honest! Identify the hardships, trials, anxieties, frustrations, lusts, discouragements, and conflicts that trouble you at the present time. Feel free to share the many troubles on your mind, but also try to focus on a few big ones.

– To whom are you running and what are you doing to face your troubles?

Write down who you have been seeking for help, whether yourself, other people, or the Lord Himself. Write down the resources and actions you have chosen to help, whether books, Scripture, television, drugs, sleeping, pleasure, prayer, or a community of people.

– Who knows you and who is helping you?

Think about the significant people in your life. Think about recent, personal, and open conversations you have initiated with them. To what degree have you shared your struggles with them? In what ways are they helping? In what ways are they not helping?

– What seems to be getting exposed in your heart and way of life?

Consider the loyalties, values, passions, and ambitions being made visible in your life right now: maybe a longing for the praise of people; maybe a desire for riches; maybe a loyalty to Christ and His kingdom; maybe dreams for a certain kind of marriage or family.

– Where do you see lifelong themes, patterns, and habits at work?

Try to see and share any longstanding themes in your life story. Many of the troubles you see in your life at present may have been troubles that you have carried for many years. The way you relate to the Lord and people right now could be traced back to how you have always related to the Lord and people. You may not have seen the connection before.

– What experiences from your history have most influenced you?

Share any experiences from your childhood, family relationships, or previous years as a whole that seem to have strongly influenced the person you are today. Perhaps there were specific relationships or events that were really significant to you. Perhaps there were decisions you made or that others made for you that sharply changed the direction of your life.

– If you are a Christian, how did Jesus Christ save you?

Write down the key people and circumstances the Lord used to draw you to Himself. Perhaps there was a particular passage of Scripture that opened your eyes, humbled your heart, and helped you see your need for the Savior Jesus Christ. How has justification changed your life?

– In what ways has the Lord Jesus Christ been growing you as His disciple?

Think about and write down a few ways the Lord has transformed you in recent months. Maybe there have been some punctuating moments where God freed you from particular sin struggles, or helped you notice and enjoy something about Him, or gave you courage and compassion in the Christian faith in ways you didn’t have before.


Community Project Reaction Paper (ABC Only):

 Upon completing the DVD seminar, Your Walk with God Is a Community Project by Paul Tripp (available in the member area of the ABC website; membership is included with student fees), students will answer the following questions (papers should not exceed 3 pages):

    1. Why do you think it is important for Christians to exist within community, especially when dealing with difficult life circumstances, sins, or emotional and relational issues? What did you learn from this DVD series that supports your answer?
    2. What is your greatest struggle or challenge in walking/living openly in community?
    3. How do you plan to use this training and certification to strengthen the community and culture of your church? Your household? Your ministry?
    4. List 5 things directly from this DVD series that you will seek to implement in your own life and work as a biblical counselor. Why were these five things so significant for you?

Journal Article Response Papers (ABC and SHC)

Each week you will have assigned reading from articles taken from the Journal of Biblical Counseling. One of the important tasks of developing as a minister/counselor is to enhance your conceptual skills by applying knowledge you acquire to actual situations. The purpose of these assignments will be to take the information from the articles and make them usable to you as a person ministering to the needs of others. Some articles will address worldview and philosophical issues. Others will speak to applying specific theology to human struggle. Your task is to extract the data from the articles and explain how you might practically use it in your own life and within counseling.

QUESTIONS: Answer and post to Google Classroom. Each assignment should not exceed two typed pages, single spaced, Cambria font, size 12.  This page limit is per assignment of two or three articles, NOT per article.

Process Paper one – select two or three of your favorite JBC articles from weeks 1-11 and answer the questions below.

Process Paper two – select two or three of your favorite JBC articles from weeks 12-24 and answer the questions below. 

  1. How would you summarize the article as a whole? What seems to be the main point or points? What question is the author trying to answer, what problem is the author trying to address, or what counseling skills is the author trying to impart?
  2. What 2-3 statements or ideas really stood out to you? Perhaps the author said something you’ve never heard before, or gave you a helpful perspective on God, His Word, life, people, and/or counseling ministry.
  3. In light of the article, how might you apply these principles to your own heart/life? In other words, share 1-2 areas in which you feel convicted, encouraged, or challenged by the article for heart/life change or approach to ministry.


    Case Study (ABC and SHC)

    Please read the following case study and answer the following questions in 2 pages: 

    After 8 years of marriage, Jeff and Teresa feel exhausted, discouraged, and eager for change. They have good days and bad days. They have fun and they fight. When they have a conflict, they tend to scream and shout. Then they cool down and move on. Jeff’s messy. Teresa’s neat. He’s creative. She’s careful and calculated. Budgets excite Teresa. They demoralize Jeff. His idea of a great time involves watching a show on TV and ordering pizza, whereas Teresa loves long walks, well-planned dinners on the town, and romantic weekend getaways. If you asked them what they appreciated about one another, they would need to think it over. If you asked them what irritates them about one another, they could share a long list.

    They attend a Bible-teaching, gospel-preaching church in their town, but they’re not deeply involved. From time to time, they go through a Bible study or take a class, but they try to reserve Christian activities for Sunday mornings. Both have a credible profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. They pray over meals and read the Bible from time to time.

    About four years ago Jeff, “almost had an affair.” Since “marriage was in a rut and Teresa was distant,” he started flirting with a girl at work, who liked him and knew how to flatter him. “It never went past flirtatious conversation,” according to Jeff. It ended when Teresa found a few racy emails and confronted him. The girl moved to another town shortly thereafter, and “it hasn’t been an issue since.”

    From Teresa’s point of view, she carries the load in their marriage and home. She sees Jeff as irresponsible and lazy. She’s easily frustrated and critical of him. He sits quietly and shuts her out. If he would just grow up, Teresa believes, they would be fine. If she would just calm down, Jeff believes, everything would be okay. Both would love some help.

    If you’re a man, think about how you might approach counseling ministry with Jeff. If you’re a woman, consider what counseling ministry with Teresa might involve. Here are a few questions to answer:

    1. After reading their story, what additional information would you want to gather? What questions do you have in your mind for either Jeff or Teresa?
    2. Where do you believe Jeff or Teresa need to focus their attention? What questions might you ask in order to draw out the main loves, loyalties, hopes, fears, and desires of their hearts?
    3. In what form is Jeff/Teresa experiencing suffering? How might you express compassion for legitimate hardships and burdens in his/her life?
    4. Share 2-3 counseling ministry objectives and prayers you might have for Jeff/Teresa. If you had six or seven meetings, what would you pray for the Lord to accomplish?


    Exams (ABC Only)

    1. Exam 1 – will be an open book, take-home exam covering Lessons 1-21. Exam will be available to take in Google Classroom after the completion of the first section of the book.
    2. Exam 2 – will be an open book, take-home exam covering the material from Lessons 22-39 of Equipped to Counsel. Exam will be available in Google Classroom when you have completed the second section of the book.


     Counseling Mini-Practicum (ABC Only)

    During the second semester of the training, please find a person to meet with on a weekly (or every other week) basis for you to help them through some specific troubles in their life. This could be a friend or someone in your immediate church community, or even an unbeliever in your life. The purpose will be to consider, pray through, apply, and practice what you’re learning this year in the training. Meet with the person approximately 8 times.

    Please use the counseling journal pages on the ABC website to summarize each of your sessions. Post to Google Classroom upon completion of all the journals.


    What Did You Expect? Reaction Paper (ABC Only)

    Once you have completed the entire DVD seminar, What Did You Expect?, please write a reaction paper by answering the following questions (these reaction papers should not exceed 3 pages).  Post to Google Classroom. 

    How would you define and explain the importance of marriage? What did you learn about the roots of a good marriage? Give specifics (scriptures, quotes, etc.) from this DVD series that support your answer.

    1. What is the biggest problem in marriage? How does this directly apply to your own life? If you are not married, then how does it apply to what you see in marriages around you?
    2. Do you struggle allowing your spouse and/or other people to know the true you, riddled with flaws, weaknesses, and failure? Do you see others struggling with this reality? What did you learn on how to help others stop trying to fix or do what only grace can do?
    3. From this DVD series, how would you define love? How do you plan to use what you’ve just learned to strengthen marriages and the culture of your church?
    4. How can you specifically help others identify earth-bound treasures to help them become rooted in worship (God as sovereign & God as Savior)?
    5. List five things directly from this DVD series that you will seek to implement in your own life and work as a biblical counselor. Why are these five things so significant for you?


    Due Date Done Week # Description
    9/29/22 1 IN CLASSROOM TRAINING – Kick Off; Discuss Lessons 1-2
    10/6/22 2


    1.   ETC Module 1:  A Vision for Counseling – Lesson 1:  Counseling Ministry in the Church; Lesson 2:  The Origin of Counseling Ministry; Lesson 3:  The Place of Counseling in Ministry

    2.   Read Article:  Counseling Is the Church

    3.   Read Article:  Cure of Souls (and the Modern Psychotherapies)

    10/13/22 3

    IN CLASSROOM TRAINING – Discuss Lessons 3-6

    1.   ETC Module 1:  A Vision for Counseling – Lesson 4:  A Definition for Biblical Counseling

    2.   ETC Module 2:  Counseling Foundations – Lesson 5:  Counseling Worldview, Part 1; Lesson 6:  Counseling Worldview, Part 2

    10/20/22 4


    1.   Read Article:  The Great Commission:  A Paradigm for Ministry in the Local Church

    2.   Read Article:  Affirmations & Denials:  A Proposed Definition of Biblical Counseling

    3.   Read Article:  What Is Biblical Counseling Anyway?

    4.   ABC Students MS Teams Check-In Meeting (time sign-up to come in email)

    10/27/22 5

    IN CLASSROOM TRAINING – Discuss Lessons 7-8

    1.   ETC Module 2:  Counseling Foundations – Lesson 7:  The Aim of Biblical Counseling; Lesson 8:  The Fruit of Biblical Counseling

    2.   Read Article:  God’s Glory Is the Goal of Biblical Counseling

    3.   Read Article:  Modern Therapies and the Church’s Faith

    4.   Your Story Paper Due (ABC & SHC)

    11/3/22 6


    1.   ETC Module 3:  God and His Word – Lesson 9:  Scripture Tells the Story; Lesson 10:  Creation, Fall, and Judgment

    2.   Read Article:  Who Is God?

    11/10/22 7

    IN CLASSROOM TRAINING – Special Topic:  Suicide Prevention

    Class will meet only in the evening

    1.   Read Article:  Speaking Redemptively

    2.   Read Article:  Toward a Definition of the Essence of Biblical Counseling

    3.   Read Article:  How Do You Help a “Psychologized” Counselee?

    11/17/22 8

    IN CLASSROOM TRAINING – Discuss Lessons 9-12

    1.   ETC Module 3:  God and His Word – Lesson 11:  Redemption, Consummation, and Eternity; Lesson 12:  Knowing the Word of God

    2.   Read Article:  The Present Glories of Redemption

    3.   Read Article:  Is the Adonis Complex in Your Bible?

    4.   Read Article:  How Does Scripture Change You?

    5.   Community Project Reaction Paper Due (ABC Only)

    11/24/22 9

    Thanksgiving Break

    1.   ETC Module 4:  The Gospel – Lesson 13:  The Gospel Outlined; Lesson 14:  Gospel Implications

    2.   Read Article:  Who Are We?  Needs, Longings, and the Image of God in Man

    3.   Read Article:  The Therapeutic Gospel

    4.   Read Article:  How Does Sanctification Work? (Part 1)


    12/1/22 10

    IN CLASSROOM TRAINING – Discuss Lessons 13-16

    1.   ETC Module 4:  The Gospel – Lesson 15:  The Gospel Lived, Part 1; Lesson 16:  The Gospel Lived, Part 2

    2.   Read Article:  How Does Sanctification Work? (Part 2)

    3.   Read Article:  How Does Sanctification Work? (Part 3)

    12/8/22 11


    1.   ETC Module 5:  Understanding People – Lesson 17:  Suffering; Lesson 18:  Whatever Rules Your Heart Rules Your Life

    2.   Read Article:  Understanding the Influences on the Human Heart

    3.   Read Article:  Suffering and Psalm 119

    4.   Read Article:  Biological Psychiatry

    5.   Read Article:  What if Your Father Didn’t Love You?

    6.   Journal Article Response Process Paper 1 Due

    12/15/22 Christmas Break
    1/12/23 12

    IN CLASSROOM TRAINING – Discuss Lessons 17-20

    1.   ETC Module 5:  Understanding People – Lesson 19:  The Descent into Depression; Lesson 20:  The Ascent into Joyful Abundance

    2.   Read Article:  Puritan Resources for Biblical Counseling

    3.   Read Article:  Learning Contentment in All Your Circumstances

    1/19/23 13


    1.   Exam 1 (ABC Only)

    1/26/23 14


    Class will meet only in the evening

    2/2/23 15


    1.   ETC Module 6:  Counseling Methods – Lesson 21:  General Methods:  Love and Discern; Lesson 22:  General Methods:  Identify and Exhort

    2.   Read Article:  X-ray Questions:  Drawing Out the Whys…of Human Behavior

    3.   Read Article:  Opening Blind Eyes:  Another Look at Data Gathering

    4.   Read Article:  Data Gathering Part 2:  What the Counselor Brings to the Process

    5.   ABC Students MS Teams Group Check-In

    2/9/23 16

    IN CLASSROOM TRAINING – Discuss Lessons 21-24

    1.   ETC Module 6:  Counseling Methods – Lesson 23:  Specific Counseling Methods; Lesson 24:  Specific Counseling Conditions

    2.   Read Article:  Strategies for Opening Blind Eyes:  Data Gathering Part 3

    3.   Read Article:  Illustrative Counseling

    4.   Read Article:  Counseling People Who Resist Change

    2/16/23 17


    Flex Week – Catch up on reading

    1.   Counseling Journal Meeting 1 (ABC)

    2/23/23 18 NO CLASS ON 2/23; Biblical Counseling Conference 2/24 & 2/25
    3/2/23 19


    1.   Counseling Journal Meeting 2 (ABC)

    3/9/23 20

    IN CLASSROOM TRAINING – Discuss Lessons 25-26

    1.   ETC Module 7:  Addictions – Lesson 25:  Understanding Addiction; Lesson 26:  Counsel for Addiction

    2.   Read Article:  The Bondage of Sin

    3.   Read Article:  Addictions:  New Ways of Seeing, New Ways of Walking Free

    4.   Counseling Journal Meeting 3 (ABC)

    3/16/23 21


    1.   Case Study Paper Due (ABC & SHC)

    2.   Counseling Journal Meeting 4 (ABC)

    3/23/23 22

    IN CLASSROOM TRAINING – Discuss Lessons 27-28

    1.   ETC Module 7:  Anxiety – Lesson 27:  Understanding Worry and Anxiety; Lesson 28:  Counsel for Worry and Anxiety

    2.   Read Article:  Getting to the Heart of Your Worry

    3.   Read Article:  “Peace, be still”:  Learning Psalm 131 by Heart

    4.   Counseling Journal Meeting 5 (ABC)

    3/30/23 Spring Break
    4/6/23 23

    IN CLASSROOM TRAINING – Discuss Lessons 29-30

    1.   ETC Module 8:  Anger – Lesson 29:  Understanding Anger; Lesson 30:  Counsel for Anger

    2.   Read Article:  Anger Part 1:  Understanding Anger

    3.   Read Article:  Anger Part 2:  Three Lies About Anger and the Transforming Truth

    4.   Read Article:  Getting to the Heart of Conflict:  Anger, Part 3

    5.   Counseling Journal Meeting 6 (ABC)

    4/13/23 24


    1.   Counseling Case Observation Video and Discussion – MS Teams

    2.   Journal Article Response Process Paper 2 Due

    3.   Counseling Journal Meeting 7 (ABC)

    4/20/23 25

    IN CLASSROOM TRAINING – Discuss Lessons 31-33

    1.   ETC Module 8:  Depression – Lesson 31:  Defining Depression; Lesson 32:  Understanding Depression; Lesson 33:  Counsel for Depression

    2.   Read Article:  The Valley of the Shadow of Death

    3.   Read Article:  Counseling Those Who Are Depressed

    4.   Read Article:  Words of Hope for Those Who Struggle with Depression

    5.   Counseling Journal Meeting 8 (ABC)

    4/27/23 26


    1.   ETC Module 9:  Sexual Purity and Sexual Sin – Lesson 34:  God’s Purpose and Design for Sex; Lesson 35:  The Nature of Sexual Temptation and Sin; Lesson 36:  Counsel for Sexual Temptation and Sin

    2.   Read Article:  What’s Right About Sex?

    3.   Read Article:  Sexual Sin and the Wider, Deeper Battle

    5/4/23 27

    IN CLASSROOM TRAINING – Discuss Lessons 34-38

    1.   ETC Module 9:  Sexual Purity and Sexual Sin – Lesson 37:  Understanding Homosexuality; Lesson 38:  Counsel for Homosexuality

    2.   Read Article:  Homosexuality:  Current Thinking and Biblical Guidelines

    3.   Read Article:  Getting to Know the Experience of Same-Sex Attraction

    5/11/23 28


    1.   Exam 2 (ABC Only)

    2.   What Did You Expect? Paper Due (ABC Only)

    3.   Submit completed Counseling Journals 1-8 (ABC Only)

    5/18/23 29




    FAQ’s on Certification

    What is the difference between a Salem Heights Biblical Counseling Certificate of Completion and full ABC Certification?

    • A few less assignments, no exams and significantly less cost. A great option for those that want the challenge of learning the material but do not see the need for a full certification through ABC.

    What is the value of an ABC Certification of the Equipped to Counsel (ETC) curriculum training?

    • Third-party credentialing of a working Biblical counseling training curriculum
    • Recognized certification by a respected association
    • Provides intentional process for those who want to mature in Biblical counseling
    • Community of committed Biblical counselors.

    What is the certification process?

    • The certification is a staged training process that includes class time, homework, observation and a mini-practicum experience.

    How long does the certification process take?

    • You will be able to complete your certification in our ETC class this year.

    What is required to keep my ABC certification active each year?

    • Maintain your status as an active member of ABC in good standing
    • Complete the necessary CEUs each year and submit the appropriate paperwork to ABC

    What if I want to change my certification status in the class?

    • Please let Emily know via email by November 1 if you would like a status change in the class.
    • We have a limited number of spots for those wanting a certificate option. Please let Emily know as soon as possible to reserve a spot.